A panel of lawmakers and specially-selected Ohioans charged with recommending changes to the state constitution started a series of hearings this week.
Voters approved a Constitutional Modernization Commission last year instead of a constitutional convention, and the many subcommittees of the overall commission are in hearings at the Statehouse this week. The bipartisan commission of 12 lawmakers and 20 citizen members will eventually hear about taxes, term limits, home rule, redistricting, elections of judges and ballot campaigns launched by citizens, among many other issues. And while all this might sound both lofty and tedious, Ohio State Moritz College of Law professor Ned Foley told one of the many subcommittees of the overall commission that they’re also far-reaching.
“You’re really thinking about very important rules for grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You’re really in a position to shape the posterity of this state. That’s the office that you hold as commissioners of this body. It is a very profound and important public trust that all of you on this Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission have,” said Foley.
Voters will have to decide on any recommendations from the commission. The last Ohio constitutional modernization commission was in 1970, and voters approved 15 of their changes. The commission could potentially work until 2021.